Thursday, December 25, 2008

After 17 weeks... It's over

Well, it's been 17 weeks, but the high school football season is finally over. Over the last busy six weeks I've driven more than 2,500 miles covering the playoffs. In the last 17 weeks I've shot 30 high school games, plus a few college games. It's been a pretty crazy season. And, while it's nice that it's coming to an end, as usual I'm going to miss it. Football season is the best time of the year.
For the final game of the season Cisco High School, which I've shot the last three weeks was playing Daingerfield for the Class 2A Division II state championship. They were playing at Waco ISD stadium in Waco. The only other team I saw Cisco play in Waco they got beaten pretty bad in a state championship game in 2002. From talking to the coach the week before, Daingerfield was going to be good. After he showed me the game tape of them it was looking like Cisco didn't stand a whole lot of a chance. they would probably lose by 21.
Well, after the first quarter the score was tied 0-0. Then Daingerfield started to realize their bigger, fast receivers could make big plays by simply out-leaping the Cisco DB's, or running past them. Daingerfield took over the game and went ahead 19-0 at halftime.
Cisco started out the second half with a brutally long drive. Pulling out the classic three yards and a cloud of dust offense, Cisco drove the ball all the way down the field with a 7+ minute drive, before losing a fumble on the 2 yard line. After that I was pretty sure this one was over.
Well, Daingerfield added another TD in the fourth quarter. Cisco, to their credit, never gave up. Their crowd was still screaming for them on every drive despite it becoming more clear the outcome wasn't what they were looking for. I think going into the game, everyone knew Cisco had to play a perfect game and get a little help from the other team having an off day. It just wasn't going to happen. They did, however, score a touchdown in the final few minutes of the game, making the final score 26-8.
Looking at the score the game doesn't seem as close as it looked from being there. There were three big plays that made the score more than it was. On their opening drive Cisco lost a fumble inside the Daingerfield 20, on a drive that they were moving the ball well and looked like they would score. Then, on the last play of the first half, Daingerfield scored a 33-yard touchdown, on a play their big receiver just blew past the Cisco defender. Couple those plays with the fumble in the third quarter and the "perfect" game needed just wasn't going to happen.
And, even had all those plays gone right I'm not sure they'd have won. That Daingerfield team was big, fast and unlike a lot of East Texas teams, they were well disciplined. That's usually the one intangible that the West Texas teams at this level have over the more "athletic" teams. Well, it was a fun run even if I didn't get to cover a title winner in the end. Plus I made a few decent images along the way.

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